Skip to Main Content

Specialist Support from Learning Services

Do I need Specialist Support?

The transition to university life can be challenging if you are a student who requires specialist support.

Ways in which you may have managed your studies previously may not work as well when studying at higher levels, and you might only discover a need for additional support after starting to attend university.

University courses and resources are inclusive. We are committed to access and participation in higher education for people from all backgrounds, and course design and teaching are intended to be accessible to all students.  Our academic skills services are freely available to all students, and included in this provision specialist support is available from academic skills advisors and student services.

Our aim is to support all students to move towards independence as they advance in their studies.

Our advisors provide help in building effective study skills, understanding course content and assignments, and developing the academic skills to complete them successfully. You can book appointments with advisors through our appointment booking system, and email them with any queries you may have.

If you feel you may have a specific learning difference, such as dyslexia, for instance, we would encourage you to contact us to find out how we can help. You may feel you are working very hard but not progressing as well as you would like and specialist support could make a significant difference to your studies as well as improving your well-being. This might include eligibility for Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA).

In Learning Services, we can tailor the support we offer to each individual allowing every student to reach their own potential.

I know I have a learning difference - what do I do?

If you have already been diagnosed with a learning difference please contact the Student Life team as soon as possible with a copy of your assessment report. Student Life will be able to put reasonable adjustments in place and will help you apply for Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA).

What should I do if I suspect that I have a learning difference?

Step 1

If you feel you may have a learning difference, the Student Life team (based in the Waterfront Building) can offer screenings or full diagnostic assessments. Please go to the Student Life and ask for an 'Adult Questionnaire', or contact an Academic Skills Adviser who will be able to help. 

Step 2

The adult questionnaire is an important part of the screening or full diagnostic assessment process and helps the Assessors to understand your experience of learning. Once you have completed the questionnaire please return the form to the Student Life. Your completed Questionnaire will be given to our specialist assessors and they will contact you to discuss the next steps

What is the difference between a screening and a full assessment?


A screening can be carried out to identify areas of difficulty, but cannot diagnose whether or not you have a Learning Disability. A screening will take approximately one hour to complete and is a free service. If areas of difficulty are identified, the Assessor can put reasonable adjustments in place to help you with your studies based on this. Examples of reasonable adjustments resulting from a screening may include exam concessions such as extra time in an exam or use of reader or scribe. Because a screening cannot diagnose a learning difficulty you cannot use any results from a screening to apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA)

Full diagnostic assessment

If you would like to have a full diagnostic assessment, this takes approximately four to five hours to complete and post assessment you will receive a detailed report. If the assessment diagnoses a learning difficulty this report will enable you to apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances.

Do I have to pay for a full assessment?

We ask for a contribution towards the cost of the assessment of £100 which is payable in advance of the assessment. You are, of course, welcome to have a private assessment and these generally cost between £400 and £700

What is DSA and how can it help?

If your report gives a diagnosis of a learning disability you may be eligible to apply for DSAs and you can make an application to your student finance body Advisers can help you complete the procedure as you need.

Part of the DSA process requires you to meet with an independent Needs Assessor who will discuss you diagnosis and how this impacts on your learning and how DSA funding can be used to support you. They will suggest various types of support, software and/or equipment. The independent Needs Assessor will submit their Needs Assessment Report your funding body DSA Team on your behalf. Some of the ways the DSA can help are:

  • Extra Tuition or specialist Mentoring
  • Computer equipment tailored to your specific needs
  • Computer programmes to assist in your studies, including text to speech and speech to text software, for example
  • Spelling and Grammar Software

You do not have to be in receipt of DSA to receive some forms of support. Guidance on general assistive support technology is available here

What do I do when I hear from the DSA?

Once the DSA have received both your diagnostic and assessment reports they will decide on what to award you.

If you consent to sharing information with your University you will also receive an email from disability advisers  inviting you to make an appointment to come in to discuss your report and any needs.

Please read your email carefully, we suggest that you print it, as it will tell you what you are entitled to and how to get your entitlement. The DSA DO NOT organize support for you, you are expected to contact external suppliers and contractors yourself

Booking Appointments

University of Suffolk Ipswich Campus

Student Services can be contacted directly by emailing or calling the Student Life team on 01473 338833

Library and Learning Services Appointments are coordinated through our central booking page

If you require support in making a booking, you can email us at or call us on 01473 338 700


University Partners

Specific contact information on the range of support and services provided by University Partners are available on their web pages:

University of Suffolk at West Suffolk College


Tel: 01284 716257


University of Suffolk at East Coast College

Additional learning support team

Tel: 01502 525045 (Lowestoft Campus), 01493 419215 (Great Yarmouth Campus) Email:

Library team

Tel. 01502 525169 (Lowestoft Campus),  01493 419220 (Great Yarmouth Campus) Email:


University of Suffolk at Suffolk New College

Tel: 01473 382738 (Ipswich) or 01473 748248 (Suffolk Rural) Email:


Global Banking School

London School of Commerce


How and Who do I make an appointment with?

Anyone can make an appointment to see an Academic Skills Advisor. You DO NOT need to be receiving DSA

If you are registered for DSA, you can receive specialist support by making appointments with one of our advisors who has additional training in supporting students with particular needs. The following advisors have specific training in supporting students receiving DSA:

When you attend your first appointment you will be offered an individual learning plan (ILP) to help you to stay on top of your studies and learn to enjoy and get the most from your lectures. If you are in receipt of DSA you will also be asked to read and sign a contract.

If you don't want a learning plan, that is fine too. As Academic Advisors we are here to help all students with study and learning skills and our focus is on your requirements and preferences.


What happens when I make an appointment?

When you make an appointment  you will be able to provide information about your needs to help your advisor prepare useful resources in advance. You will receive a confirmation email confirming the time of your appointment and who this is with. If you don't receive an email contact us. You will receive a second email 24 hours before your appointment as a reminder.

Where do I come for my appointment?

Guidance on booking appointments and locations, including online appointments which we deliver remotely by email or Microsoft Teams is available on the booking pages. There is a guide to using Microsoft Teams for meetings here.

What if I don't want anyone to know I am receiving support?

That's fine, many people prefer to keep this confidential. When you make your appointment you can include a note that you wish the appointment to be private. The advisor will contact you to arrange a suitable location.

What if I have a complaint about the service?

If you are unhappy with your provider you should try to speak to them about your concerns first. If this does not resolve the situation please follow our complaints procedure. Click to link